Spotlight on Cher Li

UK~IRC Research Fellow, Dr Cher Li who works on our Service Innovation project with Professor Bruce Tether tells us how she fits into the UK~IRC team. Cher recently co-organised the Early Career Researcher workshop on New Frontiers in Innovation, and is at the forefront of our engagement with young researchers.

Tells us about your role in the UKIRC 

As a research fellow in the UK~IRC, I work within a highly interdisciplinary research team at Imperial College Business School, in close collaboration with colleagues at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, along with various other academic and industry partners. I undertake research to gain a better understanding of the process and impact of innovation, and organise events to communicate with scholars, policy-makers and the user community of innovation.

When did you become interested in innovation?
I learned the ‘endogenous growth theory’ with great passion as part of my economics education, which points to technology and innovation as the ultimate driving force behind national growth and development. During my PhD study, I got a closer look at what determined growth and survival at the microscopic firm level, I was even more fascinated by the critical role played by innovation in deciding business future.

What will your research achieve?

My research will build on the combined multidisciplinary strength of both Imperial and Cambridge to study sector/business-level innovation performance, with a special focus on service innovation and its impact on business performance. This will help generate lessons for business managers, establish key UK innovation policy capability needs, as well as highlight international best practice in policy engagement.

Why is it important to engage young researchers?

Going hand in hand with innovation is the creativity that lies in individuals and enterprises. Young researchers possess unique advantages in exploiting such creativity and they have the power to influence the direction of future innovation research. For instance, at the recent Early-Career Researcher Workshophosted by the UK~IRC (13-14 Sept, University of Cambridge), we provided a forum for communicating research on the frontiers of innovation amongst enterprising young scholars from a number of countries. Our very positive feedback showed that there was a strong need/interest for young researchers to engage in this exciting field of research and to connect with each other.

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